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Monday, March 18, 2002

Following the great joy of giving away his beloved granddaughter, Natalie, in marriage to a young Australian, Jabez Phillpot, in Melbourne on 17 March, the ICF's Founder President, William Porter, made a number of media contacts in Melbourne and Sydney.

He was interviewed by Martin Flanagan, feature writer of Melbourne's influential daily, The Age, resulting in a seven-column, across-the-page article headed, "Crusader wants to inject morals into mass media".

Other contacts included; lunch at Sydney's Union Club with John Fairfax, Head of the Rural Press (said to be Australia's third leading media owner) and John Farquharson, former Deputy Editor of The Canberra Times; meetings with David Flint, Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Warren Beeby, Editoiral Manager of News Ltd's national papers (part of the Murdoch empire), and Peter Westmore, Catholic journal publisher in the Melbourne diocese. Porter was also interviewed on ABC National Radio by Mick O'Regan on his regular Media News programme.

En route to Australia Porter had an inside-of-the-day stopover in Hong Kong, where he was welcomed by Dr Leonard Chu, Dean of the School of Communication of Hong Kong Baptist University and spoke to a group of the School's lecturers and students. He also visited the South China Morning Post for a good talk with C K Lau, Deputy Editor, who when asked if democracy would gain ground in mainland China during the next 20 years, said that he was not sure about that, but he was sure that communism would lose ground.

Since returning to Europe, Porter visited London to discuss a proposed Beirut ICF event with Asaad Shaftari and Hisham Shihab, who were on a UK visit speaking as an example of Christian-Muslim reconciliation following the 17-year civil war in the Lebanon. During their visit they met political and business leaders in London, Liverpool and Bradford including a Parliamentary reception.

Porter also attended the International Press Institute's World Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, bringing back memories of his visits there forty years earlier, following his marriage with Sonja, a Yugoslav. The Congress attracted several hundred delegates from 52 countries. He was able to have valuable contacts with 63 of them from 26 countries and established much common ground for future co-operation. The tone-setting address was made by Slovenia's President, Milan Kučan with the theme of "A Global World in Need of Ethics". Mitja Meršol, Editor-in-Chief of DELO, Slovenia's main daily newspaper and Chairman of the IPI Slovenian Host Committee, invited Porter to visit his paper and will be writing on the ICF's ideas.